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Quinoa Spinach Gratin

Quinoa Spinach Gratin

I found this recipe while browsing the Recipes for Health section of the New York Times site a few years ago. Something about it appealed to me – maybe the fact that it melded quinoa (a food I still think of as the kind of uber-healthy grain favored by vegans) with Gruyère cheese (which conjures up a very different set of associations – French, decadent, melty, etc…) and eggs (hearty, filling and basic.)

Quinoa by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2008.

I’ve made this many times and it is always a huge hit! The dish is part comfort food, part health food, and 100 percent tasty and satisfying.

Quinoa Spinach Gratin - Pre-Baking by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2008

It does not take very long to prepare (you can cook the quinoa ahead of time which helps a bit) and tastes great reheated. My husband and I practically fight over the leftovers the next day… We’ve also brought this on some plane rides and I am happy to report that it travels well and tastes way better than anything you could buy in an airport.

Quinoa Spinach Gratin by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2008

My recipe below includes a few small changes to the original by Martha Rose Shulman. In addition to adjusting the amounts a little, I’ve suggested cooking the quinoa with some stock or bouillon as it gives it a richer flavor (though you can just use water.) I’ve also increased the amount of cheese the recipe calls for (though you could scale back if you want to err on the side of lower fat, lighter dairy, etc.,) as we both felt it would have been even tastier with a little more melty goodness. And since Gruyère is a pretty pricey cheese, I’ve suggested substituting cheddar for the additional cheese. It’s a very flexible recipe, though, so feel free to adjust. Enjoy!

Quinoa & Spinach Gratin
Serves 6

Ingredients
* 1 large bunch of organic spinach, washed, dried and torn into manageable-sized pieces * 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
* 1 large onion, chopped
* 4 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed in several changes of water and drained
* 3 cups vegetable stock
* 3 large organic eggs
* 3/4 cup Gruyère cheese, grated
* 3/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated
* 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
* 1 1/2 tsps fresh sage, chopped
* 2 tsps Italian parsley, chopped
* 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
* Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Oil a 2-quart baking or casserole dish.

2. Prepare the quinoa. Bring the stock to a boil in a pot and add the quinoa with a pinch of salt. Stir and return to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until the quinoa is tender but still firm. You’ll know it’s done when you see its unique little curlicue of a “tail” come out of the grain. Drain the quinoa in a fine strainer or sieve and set it aside.

3. Heat a medium frying pan or a wide saucepan over medium-high heat and add 2 Tbsps of the olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until translucent and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir with the onion until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Add the spinach and stir to wilt it well (you may need to add it in batches to make it easier to deal with as it cooks down since it always starts out so bulky). Season generously with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Remove from the heat.

4. Beat the eggs in a large bowl and add 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and some more pepper. Stir in the quinoa, the onion and spinach mixture, the Gruyère and cheddar cheeses, and the herbs. Stir to combine well. Scrape the whole thing into the oiled gratin dish. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the top and drizzle on the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.

5. Place in the oven and bake until nicely browned on top, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit for about 5 minutes, then serve. Makes tasty leftovers! This would go well with a hearty salad or soup.

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Read more: All recipes, Basics, Entrees, Food, Side Dishes, Vegetarian

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Eve Fox

Eve is the creator of The Garden of Eating, a blog about food--cooking it, eating it, and growing it. She has a legendary love of aprons and can often be found salivating over the fruits and veggies at one of the many farmers’ markets near her home in Woodstock, NY. Want even more recipes, photos, giveaways, and food-related inspiration? "Like" the Garden of Eating on Facebook, or follow Eve on Twitter or Pinterest.

48 comments

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7:32AM PST on Jan 5, 2013

I made this recipe for me, the only non-meat eater, at Thanksgiving, and it was a huge hit with the rest of the family, kids and adults! DELICIOUS! So good, in fact, I made it again the next week. It was so good, we had no Thanksgiving leftovers of this dish. Enjoy!

7:25AM PST on Jan 5, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

7:28PM PDT on Mar 27, 2012

Gonna try this one for sure-need some of those ingredients first.

12:21PM PDT on Mar 22, 2012

yum

12:17AM PDT on Mar 15, 2012

Quinoa is the ultimate food. One can't go wrong with adding three cheeses, but I also enjoy the flavour of Ricotta.
I sometimes make a fairly similar dish, but starting with boiling a potato cut into small pieces (instead of quinoa) and then adding the rest.
My favourite pie is spinach and cheese - it's mouth-watering and one of the best combinations.

7:37AM PDT on Mar 14, 2012

TY

12:40AM PST on Mar 8, 2012

The recipe sounds good. Thanks.

2:12PM PST on Mar 7, 2012

Sounds delicious!!!

8:53AM PST on Mar 7, 2012

yum!

12:22AM PST on Mar 6, 2012

I guess than 3 cheeses make it awesome Lu Ann! =)

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